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How To Switch Car Insurance: The Only Checklist You Need

by | Jun 22, 2020

Many drivers don’t look into car insurance policy until two events happen: they’re in an accident and need coverage, or their monthly bill arrives.  Have you been sticker-shocked lately at the premium you’re required to pay? If so, you have the opportunity to take action. 

Your current policy might have been a great fit at first, but your needs change over time. In many cases, it’s relatively easy to change over to a new one, but you need to know the steps to take.  Today, we’re sharing how to switch car insurance policies to one that’s ideal for your lifestyle and budget. Read on to learn the process to follow with car insurance companies.

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Why Should I Switch Car Insurance Policies?

Especially if you’re pleased with the service and coverage, it’s best to stick with the same carrier as long as you can. Still, there might come a time when you need to re-evaluate your options for car insurance. Let’s explore examples of milestones and life changes that could necessitate a switch.

Poor Service

You don’t have to stay with an insurance provider that mishandles your claims, is impossible to reach, or always complicates your bill. You should expect and receive quality service at every turn.

Adding a Driver

Your teenager just got his license, and you’re ready to add him to your auto policy. As rates for teen drivers aren’t consistent across the board, it’s smart to research your options and switch insurers if you can find a better premium.

Storing Your Car

You shouldn’t have to shell out thousands of dollars to insure a car that you’re planning to put in storage for an extended period. Your insurance provider should allow you to pause coverage if you’re going on military deployment, an extended vacation, or a short-term business residency. If not, look around for alternatives. 

Moving States

Are you moving to another state?  If a larger, nationwide carrier insures you, this might not be an issue. However, smaller companies only offer local coverage and can’t support an out-of-state driver. In that case, you’ll need to find a carrier in your new location. 

Need A Broader Portfolio

Today, even small-scale insurance companies will allow you to bundle your auto insurance policy with your homeowner’s insurance, renter’s policy, or business insurance. Are you still paying for an individual policy, but looking to roll in up into a comprehensive plan? 

If your current provider doesn’t allow you this option, you might be able to save money and consolidate your monthly bills by finding a provider who will.

Found A Better Rate

Put simply, you might find a better rate for your same coverage level by doing a little bit of homework. That can prove beneficial, especially if you’re facing a rate increase from your current provider. If you joined a particular policy on the advice of family or friends without performing due diligence beforehand, you could be missing out on valuable savings. 

How to Switch Car Insurance Policies: Five Simple Steps

You’ve determined that it’s time to change your current car insurance policy.

Next, you need to know the process to follow to increase your chances of walking away with the right one. Let’s review the five steps that can help you leave a policy you’re dissatisfied with and a new car insurance policy for your needs.

1. Understand Your Options

Especially if you haven’t had to file a claim in years, it’s easy to think you’re overpaying for car insurance. However, before shopping for the least expensive policy on the market, it’s essential to do your research first. 

While too much coverage can mean paying more than you need, failing to invest in enough coverage could leave you financially vulnerable. Begin by looking at your add-ons and determining if they’re necessary. A few examples include:

  • Collision and comprehensive insurance
  • Personal injury protection
  • Roadside assistance
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Gap insurance

Each specific policy will vary, and some of these extra options could be considered standard on yours. Yet, it’s worth taking the time to determine how much you need them. For instance, if you drive an older vehicle that isn’t very valuable, you can save some money by opting out of comprehensive insurance, which covers theft and vandalism.

At the same time, consider the amount of liability coverage you’re paying to maintain. Someone who owns a home, savings account, and more than one vehicle will require a more considerable amount than a college student who rents. If you’re overpaying there, talk to your auto insurance agent about reducing it. 

2. Get the Timing Right

Before you go any further, check your current auto policy to see when it expires. Most policies last for around six months, depending on your state.  Read the fine print to see if you need to cancel by a specific date to avoid incurring any penalties. For instance, any companies will require that you notify your agent within 30 days of your anticipated cancellation date. In most cases, it’s best to switch policies as close to your renewal date as possible. 

When is it not smart to switch? If you’re working through an accident report or open claim with your insurance agency, hold off until that process is finalized. You don’t want the challenge of dealing with two insurance companies.

3. Buy Your New Policy

About one month before you plan to cancel policies with your current provider, go ahead, start shopping for your new auto insurance policy. As you review your options, it’s smart to have this information handy:

  • Your vehicle information (VIN, make, model, year, current mileage)
  • Your address
  • Driver information (Name, age, driver’s license number, state)
  • Driving history (details on any tickets or license suspensions)

Most carriers will require this information before quoting you a new policy. Compare the rates you find and ask about any available discounts, such as promotions for accident-free drivers. Once you find one with rates and terms that you feel comfortable with, set that policy to begin on the date that your current plan will end.

4. Cancel Your Existing Policy

With your new policy in place, it’s time to cancel your existing one. Keep in mind that when you contact your carrier, many will try to keep your business. It’s not uncommon for agents to offer lower deals or even charge a cancellation fee.

If the only issue is money, this might be enough to convince you to stay. However, if you’re dissatisfied with the service you’ve received and the management issues you’ve encountered, remind yourself why you started shopping around in the first place. 

If you’re still ready to cancel, ask your agent about the correct way to do so. Some insurers will let you cancel over the phone, while others will require the details in writing. If that’s the case, ask if you can send an e-mail or if snail mail is needed. Either way, ask your insurer to confirm the cancellation in writing. 

5. Ensure Your New Policy is Ready

The time has come. Your old policy is set to expire today, and your new policy should kick in.

That morning, call your new insurance agent to confirm that your policy is in place. If you went with a large provider, you should be able to log in to your online account to verify these details. Otherwise, a quick phone call can provide you with an answer.

Once you’ve verified that your new policy is active, it’s time to make it official! Print out or request an updated ID card to keep in your vehicle and remember to remove your old one. If you’re pulled over or need to show your insurance information for any reason, you’ll be glad you took this step!

While many insurance providers now allow you to access your ID cards through your smartphone or another device, it’s still smart to have a hard copy accessible at all times. 

Switch Car Insurance and Drive Away Happy

Finding the right insurer is essential. When you partner with a team you can trust, you know you’re getting a great deal and staying protected on every side.  It pays to know how to switch car insurance policies when you need to. This guide can help you navigate this process, get the timing right, and hold the necessary conversations to ensure your satisfaction.

Are you looking for other ways to save money on your auto insurance? Check out more tips on how to save!

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